IN EL SALVADOR, MANY UNACCOMPANIED MIGRANT CHILDREN LIVE IN RURAL AREAS
Based on the Human Mobility Household Survey on Unaccompanied Migrant Childhood and Returned Children, IOM found that the majority (64 per cent) of these children live in adobe houses with dirt floors in the rural areas of El Salvador.
The study showed that, in the rural areas, a quarter of the population of returned migrant children and adolescents live in these dwellings. According to the World Bank, ground floors are primary indicators of poverty. When living in housing dwellings made of these materials, children and adolescents are vulnerable to parasitic diseases or illnesses such as Chagas.
Meanwhile, only 27 per cent of the families that live in rural areas have a toilet connected to aqueducts. 73 per cent of families living in rural areas use latrines, toilets connected to a septic tank or others. This situation can contribute to the transmission of bacteria, viruses, and parasites present in the human excreta through the contamination of water, soil and food resources.
Likewise, the presence of latrines can represent security problems especially for girls, adolescents, and women who are at risk of sexual harassment or sexual abuse at night outside of their home. At the national level, in both urban and rural areas, this situation reaches 59 per cent of the total of the families of returned unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents.
According to the research, 74 per cent of the families of unaccompanied returned migrant children are owners of their houses. Nevertheless, these percentages drop when the head of household is a woman.
During 2016, more than 52.000 migrant children were returned to El Salvador from the US and Mexico southern borders.
IOM’s analysis concludes that this population lives in conditions that promote diseases that affect their physical, nutritional and cognitive development.
Given this, IOM has called on the Salvadoran families, society and Government to guarantee the rights of all children and adolescents so that they enjoy the highest possible levels of health and grow in a dignified environment where they can reach the maximum of their potential. For IOM, this is particularly important for the most vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents returned to rural areas.
This data was collected through the Human Mobility Household Survey in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, implemented by IOM between November 2015 and March 2016, with the aim of contributing to the priority attention in situations of vulnerability to the younger population of migrants. The findings were presented today in the Salvadoran capital by Jorge Peraza Breedy, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
In addition to the presentation of these results, IOM signed a letter of understanding with El Salvador’s General Directorate of Statistics and Censuses (DIGESTYC). This agreement seeks to formalize the timely exchange of information that contributes to the effectiveness and visibility of gender-based migration. To strengthen DIGESTYC, IOM also officially donated computer equipment.
The survey was carried out within the framework of the Northern Triangle Information Management Initiative (NTMI) project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The project strengthens government's capacities to collect, analyze and share information on human mobility to support humanitarian action and the protection of vulnerable populations in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.